The British high street has been under lots of pressure over the last few years, thanks to the rise in online shopping and the cost-of-living crisis forcing people to spend less. However, it is now facing another threat – new shipping container markets. 

What are shipping container markets?

Most of us have become used to seeing pop-up cafes, restaurants and bars in converted shipping containers, and, as they are a popular way to target customers and save money on rent costs, whole markets made of these units are now being created.

Wales’ new shopping centre

This is being seen in Wales, as a 28-unit container-style market has popped up in Caerphilly.

Ffos Caerffili includes food and drink stalls, independent retailers, as well as work spaces for people working remotely, Wales Online reported.

As many as 14 businesses have already set up in the market, which opened on Friday April 5th. 

These included alcoholic drink retailer Lock Up Bottle Shop. The stall, which is run by Tomas Williams, sells beverages from local producers, including his own Williams Brothers Cider.

He noted that one of the attractive things about buying from Ffos Caerffili is being able to find new products.

“I know most of the producers of the drinks we sell here and they are all great guys. You just can’t find their products in the supermarkets,” the 26-year-old stated.

Located on Caerphilly town’s main street, Cardiff Road, the new market is in a great place to attract shoppers.

It is set over two floors, and promises to provide “something for everyone”. 

There are different seating areas, so visitors can enjoy tucking into the food and drink they buy here in comfort. It also boasts a view of the castle and its moat, making it an attractive place to stop, sit and chat with friends, boosting the town’s income at the same time. 

In addition to selling homemade, unique and local produce, the market will host workshops, art classes and beer tasting events, helping to give something back to the community and enhance the skills and hobbies of those living in Caerphilly. 

Excitement on the high street

These converted units could make people more excited about heading to their town centres once more, following continuous decline in shopper footfall. 

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), total UK footfall dropped by 1.3 per cent in March 2024 compared with the year before. This was mainly due to a decline in retail park footfall, which fell by 3.5 per cent last month, and high street traffic, dropping by 1.3 per cent. 

These figures were even higher than expected, thanks to both Easter and Mother’s Day celebrations, which encouraged people to hit the shops. 

“The choppy nature of footfall recovery we’ve seen over the past few months indicates that consumer confidence is yet to turn a corner, meaning we may see a bumpy recovery in shopper traffic in the months ahead,” Andy Sumpter, retail consultant EMEA for Sensormatic Solutions, stated.

Therefore, having somewhere new and different to shop, like a shipping container market, could help to boost interest in the high street once more.

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